Last week, the Justice Department noticed an appeal from the recent Massachusetts federal district court decisions holding the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The Defense of Marriage Act currently prohibits coverage of same sex spouses under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The Obama Administration wants Congress to enact the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which will provide full benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. The district court has stayed enforcement of its decisions pending the outcome of the appellate process. Unless the Court of Appeals accelerates the process, an appellate decision likely will be issued next year, following the upcoming federal benefits open season.
The Segal Company, a benefits consulting firm, issued its 2011 health plan trend cost survey. According to the press release, "[t]he report also discusses strategies for managing health care costs and notes that plan sponsors will need to address new rules and requirements as mandated under the Affordable Care Act. A brief summary of how plans are responding to certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act is provided."